Barcelona in meltdown after Lionel Messi hits back at Eric Abidal

Barcelona were plunged into crisis when Lionel Messi publicly called out the sporting director Eric Abidal, challenging him to name names and accusing him of tarnishing the players’ reputation.

Lionel Messi has criticised Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal for saying players were not working hard under former coach Ernesto Valverde.

Abidal claimed Barcelona’s players had not been happy with Valverde, who was sacked on 13 January, and that they had not been working hard enough under their former manager. The response from Messi was swift, public and unequivocal.

But on Tuesday Messi, 32, responded: “When you talk about players, you have to give names because if not, it gives air to things which are not true.”

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